| Inscription from Earl Hall on the campus of Columbia University... |
Erected for the students
That religion and learning
May go hand in hand and
Character grow with knowledge
GLENN: But I think I should start with my trip to a few universities on my vacation, what I did on my spring vacation. I took my daughter to a few universities. Oh, it was fun. It was fantastic. I wore a mustachio so no one could recognize me. I promised my daughter as we drove to our first stop, Columbia University, here in beautiful Midtown Manhattan. Actually it's no longer in Midtown Manhattan, it's in uptown. It's in Harlem. And who doesn't want to let your college Freshman live right in the heart of Harlem.
So we're driving and I said to my daughter as we were driving past the sex shops there at NYU where she also wanted to look and I said, yeah, I think I'm going to say a big fat no on writing a check for NYU, and I'm really not quite sure I'm willing to write it for Columbia, either. And she said, "Dad." And I said, "I'll be quiet. I'll just, you won't hear a peep out of me. I will make this your day." So I'm not kidding you. I wore a hat and glasses. I mean, I'm inside with sunglasses and I kept my head down.
But here's how it went. First we went inside what's called the Low Memorial Library and the first thing that I noticed on the Low Memorial Library as we went in was the inscription on the -- over the giant doors. It was really, it was really quite interesting to see the inscription because the inscription said, "For the advancement of the public good and the glory of almighty God." And I thought, wow, Columbia University dedicated for the advancement of the public good and the glory of almighty God. We must be talking about God in here. This is going to be fantastic. Not so much, not so much. They didn't really mention God. They did tell me that they are very -- I just want to get the note exactly -- that they're very open-minded and they have an awful lot of different kinds of speakers. Diversity of thought is very important at Columbia University, and I behind my glasses, my hat and my mustachio said, "Oh, really?" I also used a fake accent. "Really, diversity of thought, huh?" They said, absolutely. You know, you probably read that we had Hugo Chavez here. I said, oh, really? Hugo Chavez? Yeah, they had Hugo Chavez but they also wanted out that they had the leader of Iran. You might have seen that on the news. They had the leader of Iran. But they also had the Clintons and the Dalai Lama. There's your diversity of thought. And so I'm read I now. Ooh, I didn't know we had that kind of diversity here, that's great. So you had Chavez and Bill Clinton. Oh, well, I thought there was going to be indoctrination happening here.
So we sit in and we listen, and the great thing is about this was the first thing right out, right out of the chute was, "Welcome to Columbia University; we're very proud of our university. It's going to be a great experience for you should you decide to come here. It's going to be really, really great, but we are very, very -- we find it to be critical to education to serve and that's why we have all of these service projects and these service clubs that you can join." They went on for 20 minutes about service. And I'm like, maybe they're thinking this is the, you know, glory to almighty God. Maybe that's, maybe they're going to say, you know, it's like what you get in church (echoing). And then they also talked about how great the restaurants were all around Columbia University and the students will be able to find great diversity of food as well. And then they had the Chavez thing. And then they said, let's go on a tour. And so we said, oh, well, this is great. I'm ready to write a check for $50,000 a year right now. Could I write it right now? And so we go out on this tour, and Columbia University is known for a -- it is an engineering school. A lot of engineers go there. You remember the Manhattan Project, called Manhattan Project because of Columbia University. That's where it happened. Physics and engineers galore. It's fantastic. So they know a little bit about building something. In fact, as they pointed out, the Columbia University used to be in downtown down by Wall Street but then the Revolutionary War happened. So they moved it here to Rockefeller Plaza. And then they wanted to build Rockefeller Plaza. So Rockefeller moved them uptown. And this gentleman, who is an engineer in part of the engineering school, was pointing out all of the great things about Columbia University. For instance, when it moved there, what was originally on this piece of land here now in Harlem used to be a -- and he said it with a straight face -- used to be a mental institution, but then they moved Columbia University and surprisingly enough there's only one building left from the old mental institution and it's right next to the library. And he says, it's right here. This used to be actually part of the mental institution. And I thought to myself, hmmm, funny, still is. And I started to kind of laugh a little bit and my daughter just gave me a glare and so I, behind my mustachio, I held it. And so he said, that's still part of the -- you know, that's the old building for the mental institution there. And he says, do you have any idea what it's used for now?
Stu, the man saw no irony, none. The Columbia University's built on the grounds of a former mental institution and that there's only one building left from the mental institution. What do you think that building is used for today?
STU: I'm not sure, Glenn.
GLENN: It currently houses the French club. I'm not kidding you. So we're standing there and he says, of course, this is the library that you were just in but did anybody notice thinking that was in the library. And somebody raised their hand and said, yeah, there weren't any books there. And he said, yes, that's right, because -- this is the engineer telling me this -- because the engineers, when they were building it, didn't take into account the weight of the books and when they started loading the shelves of the books in the library, they realized the structure couldn't stand with the weight of the books. Again, no sense of irony was noticed by him. No sense of, that's probably not a story you want to share with other people. There was nobody that was at this school that said, you know this is a library; you did take into account the weight of the books? So they had to build another book.
So we continue on the tour and I found it ironic that there on the side of this library that the library is in the center and then right directly, if you are facing the library, right directly to the right of the library is a chapel. Didn't look like it got a lot of use, but there was a chapel there on the right. Just on the left was another chapel-like building and then the library that could hold the books was down at the foot and then the school of economics was at the head. But I thought it was interesting that the campus was designed a lot like a cross. Gee. That must have been a coincidence. No. No, it wasn't. It was fashioned after a Greek cross, kind of a traditional thing, trying to make sure everybody remembers what you should be doing there and the glory to almighty God which, again, was carved above the library. But there was something else that was carved yet over another door that I found very, very interesting. This one was on the Earl Hall Center. This was just to the other side of the library, and this center said, erected for the students that religion and learning may go hand in hand and character grow with knowledge. Found that really interesting. I thought maybe they should put a light over the door that reminded them that religion and learning should go hand in hand.
But then to the new library, the one with actual books. This is where blood started to shoot out of my eyes. There over the library where they actually have books are all the classic thinkers, Socrates, Plato, et cetera, all across. Then just underneath that, above the doors, in between the doors and the windows is another set of names. This other set of names was striking to me because they were these names: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John J, James Marshall, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln. What do these guys all have in common? In fact, there was one building that was named after John J. John J, one of the founders, one of the writers of the Federalist Papers. I found this incredible. Look at this. On the library. The importance of the American founders. The importance of the greatest thinkers. Not only do they take the classical writers up at the top but they take the guys who took the classics and said, you know what, this idea, this idea, this idea and this idea are great; look what we can make for society, the American experiment. It was a brilliant library. Maybe somebody should read not just the books inside the library but what the whole edifice says.
So I saw that and then I turned around because we had to go back to the library that doesn't hold any books and we went into that library and Hannah was filling out some paperwork and as she was filling out the paperwork, I noticed that they had a course curriculum. This was fantastic. This was -- this to me was a dream come true. The course curriculum. Because the course I was really interested in was Western civilization. I was really interested. What is it that they teach about modern civilization? Where do they start? Maybe they should start at the bottom of that library. Maybe you should read the classics and those people that took the classics and boiled them down to distill them.
There the any library that says is dedicated for the betterment of man and for the glory of almighty God, if you want to understand Western civilization, if you want to understand modern civilization, these are just a few of the books that were on the course curriculum. There was Nicci who, of course, says God is dead and then there was the book called Toward a Feminist Theory of State which was -- you know, that's -- I mean, if you want to understand how to -- it's a page-turner. I just, I loved it.
You know what I didn't find? A single founding father. You know what I didn't find? The Federalist Papers. I didn't find anything -- I found Malcolm X. I didn't find anything from our founding, nothing. Isn't that strange? Isn't that odd? No, no.
So we got into the car. Well, before we got into the car, I should tell you that I received my badge of honor. I believe, and I told my daughter this, that I believe that the day ended exactly as it should because before I got into the car, I received a ticket and so not only did I have the excitement of going to Columbia University and seeing how I can spend $50,000 a year to have my daughter, you know, her mind corrupted and, you know, have her maybe get, you know, a one-on-one with Hugo Chavez but I also got a ticket. And I laughed when I saw it and I said, this is great. And my daughter said, you got a ticket, Dad; how is it great? And I said, are you kidding me? How appropriate that the first and only time I've ever been on the Columbia campus, the police were involved.
I can't do it. I just don't know if I can do it. Stu, you saw indoctrination or -- no, not indoctrination. Expelled?
STU: Yeah, expelled, yeah, I saw it this weekend. It was very good. They did a good job of it. We should have Ben Stein on again. We need to get you a copy of it.
GLENN: I haven't seen a copy of it.
STU: Yeah, it was very interesting. It was nicely well done. Because you watch a lot of these quote/unquote conservative documentaries.
GLENN: They're pretty cheesy.
STU: But this one was well done. I definitely recommend seeing it. And it shows, you know, professor after professor after professor who is conservative and this one's focusing more on intelligent design. But it just gets, you know, in trouble with, has to take down websites that they made on their own time, have to get -- they lose their shot at tenure.
GLENN: I have to tell you I met -- because I went down to Princeton as well, which is a fantastic -- I mean, I was impressed with that. Columbia I wasn't impressed with. Princeton I was impressed with. But I met one of the main guys at the James Madison program. He's a professor, Robert George. This guy is brilliant, just brilliant. And he is a conservative tenured professor. And the stuff that he and about three other professors that I talked to told me about what's going on on university campuses all across the country, I have to tell you, should scare the living pants off of you if you have a daughter that's getting ready to go to college or is in college. The things -- college is no longer the same. It has changed. It has changed. Luckily there's people like Professor George that are actually trying to change it the other direction, that's just trying to look for balance.